The Straussian Sidestep

Dr. Germana Paraboschi's Leo Strauss e la destra americana (Leo Strauss and the American Right) is one of the few serious studies of the American right to come out of Italy. Dr. Paraboschi is a young scholar, born in Milan in 1961 and now living just outside Pavia. She spent several years in the United States, studying American conservatism. But curiously enough, her book was published by Roman Editori Riuniti, the publishing house of the Democratic Party of the Left, born from the ashes of the Italian Communist Party (an example of how leftists are light-years ahead in the cultural war, and in studying the enemy).

After surveying the movements that made up the postwar American right, Paraboschi ponders the work of Leo Strauss and the debate between the different Straussian schools. She reconsiders the Burkean school within the Old Right and sets the thought of Paul Gottfried and Claes Ryn—two scholars who decisively support transcendent values and thus escape the relativism popular in European historiography—as the main alternative to Strauss and the Straussians. To her, Gottfried and Ryn are correct in stressing the importance of principles to a sound and self-conscious philosophy of conservative thought. They realize that historical consciousness must be grounded on values, of which history itself is the vassal.

Paraboschi also analyzes Strauss's defense of objective values and Natural...

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